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Bloomberg lashes out at stop-and-frisk judge in response to ruling

Mayor Michael Bloomberg accused the judge of bias and unfairness in her ruling. He said city lawyers will present evidence of bias in their appeal.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly respond to the federal court ruling declaring stop-and-frisk unconstitutional. Credit: Bess Adler Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly respond to the federal court ruling declaring stop-and-frisk unconstitutional. Credit: Bess Adler

Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed the presiding judge on the stop-and-frisk trial as he responded to the ruling handed down earlier today.

The city has long balked at Judge Shira Scheindlin's involvement in the case: a leaked city memo earlier this year claimed a majority of her decisions indicate a bias against law enforcement.

"Given the judge's public comments and media interviews throughout the case, this decision was certainly not a surprise," the mayor said.

Bloomberg recalled Scheindlin offering "strategic advice" to his opposition "even before the start of the case."

That accusation refers to an issue with a court policy known as the "related-case rule" which dictates that cases filed as "related" to earlier cases will go to the same judge that presided over the earlier related cases. This is why Scheindlin has presided over so many stop-and-frisk cases in her career.

"Throughout the case, we didn't believe that we were getting a fair trial," Bloomberg said. "This decision confirms that suspicion."

Bloomberg vowed the city will appeal the judge's ruling and said when they do, city lawyers will present evidence of the judge's "unfairness" to the Court of Appeals.

For his part, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly found the decision's allegations of racial profiling by the NYPD "disturbing and offensive" and called the accusation "recklessly untrue."

"We do not engage in racial profiling," Kelly said firmly. "It is prohibited by law, it is prohibited by our own regulations."

Kelly insisted that officers are taught reasonable suspicion is needed to justify a stop.

"I can assure you that race is never a reason to conduct a stop," Kelly said.

Kelly stuck largely to statistics attested that the department acts first and foremost in the interest of the poorest New Yorkers: last year, he said, 97 percent of all shooting victims were black or Hispanic and living in low-income neighborhoods.

The NYPD has confiscated "about 8,000 guns" over the last decade using stop-and-frisk, Kelly said, but his critics "sneer" at the figure "because the number is 'too low' compared to the number of stops."

In 2011 alone, 685,724 stops were recorded, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights.

While the mayor attacked the various components of judge's ruling, arguing that a court-appointed monitor will weaken or endanger the police force, Kelly appeared unbothered by the prospect of a monitor.

"The appointment of a monitor, while unnecessary in this most monitored police department already, I believe will only document what we have known all along," Kelly said. "That the New York City Police Department saves lives and that it trains its officers to do so lawfully and with full respect of the Constitution that serves and protects us all."

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

 
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